What is Evidence-Based Reading Instruction (EBRI)?

According to the International Reading Association, evidence-based reading instruction means that a particular program or collection of instructional practices has a record of success. That is, there is reliable evidence to suggest that the program helps students make gains in reading achievement. Other terms that are sometimes used to convey the same idea are research-based instruction and scientifically based research.

What does the research say about adult learners’ needs in particular?

A recent review of the research put out by the Adult Literacy Research Working Group identified the following key areas where adult education (AE) learners need work:

Fluency: Most AE students have poor fluency, even when reading simple text. It is strongly recommended that techniques involving repeated oral reading be used to improve fluency.

Vocabulary: Knowledge of vocabulary is extremely important for reading comprehension. It is strongly recommended that new vocabulary words be used multiple times, processed deeply, and related to concepts in text.

Comprehension: Most AE students a have poor functional literacy comprehension of longer or complex text. It is strongly recommended that comprehension strategies be explicitly taught using relevant material.

How do I use The Change Agent to improve fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension?

The Change Agent articles are available in print and in audio. The articles are grade-leveled (between 2 and 12) according to a readability consensus tool. The articles are relevant because they are written by adult students, about adult issues. The audio files provide numerous models of proficient oral reading. Because The Change Agent’s articles are relevant for adults, and available in both grade-leveled print and audio versions, they align with strategies recommended by the Student Achievement in Reading (STAR) program.

What are some specific ways I can use the audio versions at levels that challenge but do not frustrate students (i.e., their instructional level)?

Have individual students or groups of students read along while listening to the entire article read out loud as a model of fluent reading.

Ask individual or pairs of students to listen to articles sentence by sentence, pausing to repeat what they hear. They can replay sections as often as they like, until they can replicate the sentence rhythms.

For practice with individual word pronunciation, circle words in a passage that challenge students when they read aloud, then have them practice those words using the audio version.

What are some specific ways I can use the print articles at a student’s appropriate instructional level?

Note: Starting September 2020, we no longer print The Change Agent, but with an online subscription, you can print out as many copies of PDFs of articles as you like.

The print articles can be used as text for marking phrase boundaries, so that students can learn how pauses, stops, and voice pitch contribute to meaning.

The print articles can be used as text for Read & Respond questions, which will deepen comprehension of a text.

The print articles can be used as text for Yes/No/Why questions, a proven strategy for strengthening comprehension.

The print articles can be used as text for strategies such as summarizing, questioning, and using graphic organizers, such as KWL charts (K=What do you know about this topic? W=What do you want to know about it?; L=What did you learn now that you’ve read and discussed this text?)

How do I get started?

An online subscription to The Change Agent is very inexpensive — just $30 per teacher per year, and teachers can share their online access with all their students. If your program is buying for 25 or more teachers, the price goes down to $20 per teacher per year.